Puyallup commuters might want to factor in a few extra minutes to their commutes.
Starting April 19, Shaw Road between 23rd Avenue SE and Manorwood Drive in Puyallup will be closed for six to eight months for construction, according to a message posted on the city's website April 12.
The project will add a center left turn lane meant to ease traffic congestion for the 16,000 vehicles traveling Shaw Road per day.
The $9.4 million project will also add a sidewalk on the west side of the road and a mixed-use trail on the east side of the road to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety. Three crosswalks with flashing beacons will be constructed along the road.
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The project was originally scheduled to start in 2017 but was delayed to 2018 to avoid a potential wintertime shutdown, which would add more than $800,000 to its cost.
The project will affect commuters, local residents and services. The city of Puyallup held an open house on March 29 to address concerns and questions from community members.
What commuters should know
Construction on Shaw Road begins at 23rd Avenue, but the intersection at 23rd Avenue will still be open. The traffic light at the intersection will be adjusted to help the flow of traffic.
One lane of traffic will be open for commuters heading north on Shaw Road from Cherokee Boulevard to 23rd Avenue, allowing residents, emergency response vehicles and buses to get through.
Shaw Road from Cherokee Boulevard to Manorwood Drive will be closed to commuters.
“Our goal is to hit the north end as hard as we can, get it pushed out, and get that completed as quickly as possible,” said Mike McFarland, a senior estimator with Goodfellow Bros Inc. and contractor for the project.
As of now, a detour directs southbound commuters east on 23rd Avenue, south on Seventh Street SE along Bradley Lake and Lowe’s, then west onto 39th Avenue SE, leading back to Shaw Road.
Other alternative routes could be added later.
“With any construction project, the first week or two is going to be difficult,” Puyallup Civil Engineer Ted Hill said. “When people realize that (Shaw Road) is closed, then we’ll start looking at what the patterns are.”
Construction crews will work five days a week and not working at night. That could change to six days a week at a later date.
What residents should expect
The project is expected to be bit of a headache for residents around Shaw Road. For many, the big question is what to do with traffic cutting through residential streets.
“I’m mainly concerned on the impact on the other roads from traffic, people trying to get around,” Puyallup resident Clay Sprague said. Sprague lives in Deer Creek in Puyallup. “I’m a little concerned (the city) doesn’t have some thoughts in mind already but I can also understand they want to adjust the situation as it occurs.”
The city expects drivers through residential areas as commuters figure out their own routes, but will prepare to take action if there’s still a problem occurring.
“We didn't want to waste our money thinking about what's going to happen. We’d rather actually see what’s happening and deal with it ... As I find with most of my construction projects, usually within a few days, people will find a different route and not go through the construction area at all — they’ll stay away from it with a 10-foot pole,” Hill said.
Puyallup resident Keith Wright lives on Rodesco Drive, east of Shaw Road, and said he agrees with Sprague. He said he wants the city to focus on the hill leading up Shaw Road.
“That’s a terrible road — no shoulder, nowhere to get out of the way for police cars or fire engines,” said Wright, a firefighter with Central Pierce.
But while it might be a rough couple of months, many residents say the project has to happen.
“I support the project. It needs to be done,” Sprague said. “Shaw Road is a mess.”
How services will be affected
Residents were also concerned about others being able to access their homes. Postal services has been notified of the closure, Hill said. He said he has not reached out to waste management services but the reader boards and signs announcing the closure have been up for some time.
The city has worked closely with the school district, police and fire departments to come up with alternate routes for buses and emergency vehicles.
“They’re going to start driving those routes so they know how to get to places as quick as possible,” Hill said.
City staff told residents if their water needs to be shut off during construction, they will be notified before. Fences that need to be taken down on properties near Shaw Road will have a temporary fence replacement.
The city anticipates to open Shaw Road in December. Construction will stretch into September's Washington State Fair, but Hill said there's not much they can do. The project is outside what the city has as the "fair zone" for no construction.
For more information about the Shaw Road closure, visit cityofpuyallup.org/shawroad.